Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Gil Scott-Heron et Kanye West

On Friday afternoon, we lost one of the true originators of this thing called hip-hop.  Gil Scott-Heron was an accomplished poet, musician, and author, known mostly for his performances in spoken word during the 1970’s and 80’s.  The album pictured above, was in reality the first instance of the hip-hop genre in recorded fashion.  Over heavy percussion and some jazz chord progressions, Heron spoke freely and intellectually regarding the deep-rooted issues effecting the black communities.  That’s hip-hop.  Small Talk at 125th and Lenox opens up with a song called “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – yea he said that first.  In my opinion the deepest piece on the album is the one titled “Comment #1”, I’ll let him tell it though…

The time is in the street you know
Us living as we do upside down
And the new word to have is revolution
People don’t even want to hear the preacher spill or spiel
Because God’s hole card has been thoroughly piqued
And America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey
The youngsters who were programmed
To continue fucking up woke up one night
Digging Paul Revere and Nat Turner as the good guys. America stripped
For bed and we had not all yet closed our eyes.”

A list of hip-hop artists that have sampled Gil Scott-Heron goes on and on; Talib Kweli, Common, Brand Nubian, Black Starr, Mos Def, Dr. Dre, Q-Tip, and most recently Kanye West.  Heron’s work is known as the earliest instances of hip-hop, so it seems right for it to be sampled on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which pretty much is an example of how far the genre has gone, and how far it can still go.  On “Who Will Survive In America” Kanye takes a backseat into just producer, as the vocals are entirely Gil Scott-Heron doing what he does.  Then at two separate points during “Lost In The World”, Heron again takes the mic and his quotes become the centerpiece of the record.  MBDTF will further ensure his words carry on long after his life, as the question can be asked, and answered every day – “Who will survive in America?”.

Gil Scott-Heron – Comment #1

Kanye West – Who Will Survive in America

Kanye West – Lost In The World

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